Darius Jones is a saxophonist with a big sound and a big heart. He came by on a blazing hot day in August and we sat down to discuss, among other things, his upbringing in Virginia, awakening ones humanity, what he's learned from the great Cooper-Moore and the film "Drive". This is a good talk with a creative guy who is pushing himself to make soulful and authentic music.
Matthew Welch, Jason Cady and Aaron Siegel are Experiments In Opera. They are all gifted composers & performers and since January 2012 they have been staging large scale productions of new works, as an organization, for music and voice in New York City. For this talk we sat at my dining table with a round of strong black coffee and discussed their upcoming production Chorus of All Souls, the nuts and bolts of running an upstart opera organization and their individual approaches to the medium. I found this talk to be incredibly insightful & inspiring and I am delighted to share it with you.
Nick Millevoi is a solid cat. In addition to playing guitar in Philly's Many Arms, Nick co-leads the Archer Spade Duo with Daniel Blacksberg and just returned from a month-long solo tour of Europe. For this talk Nick and I explore how seeing the film "Wayne's World" at age eight led him to his current face melting brand of avant rock. A good talk with a good dude.
Born in Korea and raised in the United States, Ha-Yang Kim is a cellist and composer of starting sensitivity and feel. Her first record, "Ama", was released by Tzadik in 2007 and she has traveled the world performing in a variety of settings. For this talk Ha-Yang and I discuss her time at NEC, dealing with loss and the importance of following one's inner voice.
It is an honor and privilege to be able to share this conversation with cellist & composer Erik Friedlander. A vital member of New York's music scene, Erik is currently celebrating the release of his breathtaking new CD "Claws & Wings" and getting ready to set up shop for a week long residency at the Stone. For this talk Erik and I discuss the creative process, his 20+ year long working relationship with John Zorn, self releasing music and dealing with loss. This is a great talk with a sweet guy who plays from his heart.
To say that it's an honor to present this episode would be a grotesque understatement. I have been a fan of JG Thirlwell's work - Foetus, Manorexia, Steroid Maximus, etc- since I was fifteen years old. JG has two new albums coming out this month, "SOAK" and his chamber soundtrack to the film “The Blue Eyes”. For this conversation JG tells me about his early days in Melbourne, his time in London in the late 70s and his move to New York, where he's been blowing minds for the past three decades. JG Thirlwell, HELL YES.
Sam Kulik is one of a kind. There is literally no else like him. He has panache, style and debonair and he answers to no man. He is also a man with whom I have spent many hours shedding and honing a voice as an improviser. For this talk Sam and I go deep, uncovering many mysteries and getting back to the love of music. A good one to be sure.
Steve Lehman is an accomplished saxophonist and composer who has studied with Anthony Braxton, George Lewis and Tristan Murail. In addition to his own bands Fieldwork (with Vijay Iyer & Tyshawn Sorey) and the Steve Lehman Trio & Octet, he has worked with the ensembles ICE and Wet Ink. For this conversation Steve tells me about his upbringing, his time at Columbia and we discuss balancing a life of composition, improvisation, gigging and education.
In the field of free improvisation few musicians are as distinguished or as outspoken as guitarist Joe Morris. Active for over three decades as an improviser, band leader and educator Joe has traveled the world in a constant search to evolve his ideas and further his musicianship. For this conversation Joe takes me through his personal history as we discuss the spirit of improvisation, the role of teachers in the lives of young people and what it means to live honestly. This is a good talk with a heavy dude.
Vicky Chow is a concert pianist of stunning virtuosity and sensitivity. Not yet even 30, she performs regularly with the Bang on a Can All Stars and has premiered music by Steve Reich, Tristan Perich and many others. For this talk we trace how a classical prodigy made her way from the traditional repertoire to the modern.
Matthew Shipp is a pianist of stunning virtuosity and personality. Since his move to New York in 1984 he has made a signifcant impact on the city's improvised and jazz scenes. For this conversation Matt and I get real, very real, as we talk about everything from his time as a nude model for art classes, his tenure with the David S. Ware Quartet, professional wrestling and the challenges of being a creative musician in 2013. This is a lively and raw talk that I am happy to present. Matt is the real thing.
Ted Reichman is an accordianist and composer who lived in New York City from 1994-2006. During his time here he worked with everyone from Anthony Coleman, Elysian Fields, The Claudia Quintet, David Krakauer and many more. It was also during that time that Ted worked closely with John and Melissa Caruso Scott to start Tonic, one the world's most crucial venues for experimental music from 1998-2007. For this talk Ted and I discuss his time with Anthony Braxton, his move to New York, how Tonic came to be, his move to Boston and the current state of affairs for creative people who are trying to function in the world. This is a great and enlightening talk and I feel delighted and honored to share it with you.
Reuben Radding grew up in the Washington DC punk scene, the son of classical musicians. He's lived in New York, on and off, since 1988 and has worked with just about everyone who has come through the city's creative music scene in that time. He's worked as a bass player, recording engineer, photographer and porn letter author. No shit. This is good talk that deals a lot with the ups and downs that go along with decades spent pursuing a creative life.
Christopher Hoffman has been living in New York City since 2002, performing regularly with a wide variety of artists including Henry Threadgill, Christina Courtin, Pagoda, Iron & Wine and Tony Malaby, as well as leading his own bands Iosono and Sad Companion. Chris has been involved with almost every CD that I've ever made and is my longest running NYC muscial associate. For this talk Chris and I get real, very real, discussing the past decade+ of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of making music in New York City. This is a seriously good talk and one that I am really proud to present.
Mary Halvorson is a brilliant and endearing musician who has been making a name for herself, around the world, for the past eleven years. In supporting roles she has worked in the bands of Anthony Braxton, Marc Ribot and Matthew Welch and her own projects range from intimate songs for viola and guitar with Jessica Pavone to disjointed and fucked up rock songs with her band People. She has received a tremendous amount of acclaim for her trio and quintet projects and for this episode we trace her steps as a musician, talk about getting trouble in Brooklyn and about her upcoming solo guitar project among many other things.
Chris Speed is a saxophonist and clarinetist who has been a central figure in Brooklyn's creative music scene since the early 90s. In addition to his sideman work with everyone from Tim Berne to Uri Caine and Erik Friedlander, Chris has been leading and co-leading his own projects Pachora, Human Feel, the Clarinets and most recently Endangered Blood. In 2006 Chris started the Skirl label to document the very best of the Brooklyn scene and has since released 22 albums. He's a sweet dude and for this talk we sat down with a couple frosty glasses of Lagunitas IPA and got right into it, discussing his personal history, the music of Chuck Mangione and coming to terms with changing business models in how we release music. As an added bonus, at the end of this episode Chris and I perform a short clarinet duo.
Jon Irabagon is one of the best and most creative saxophonists of his generation. He is a serious jazz musician and he plays the saxophone at a level of musicianship that is all too uncommon. He is also a goofball and it can be really difficult to keep a straight face around him. For this episode Jon and I sat down with a bottle of Bulleit and got down to it, discussing his personal history and sharing stories of humiliation and hilarity. A good one...
As much as one can be called the real thing, Chris Schlarb is the real thing. A beautiful cat, Chris is a life-long resident of Long Beach, California and continues to live and make music there with his wife and two amazing children. Over Memorial Day weekend 2013, Chris and I drove around Long Beach, looking at notable places from his childhood and getting jacked on coffee, discussing and disagreeing over pop music all the while. I am really happy with how this talk turned out.
Born and raised in New York City and educated at the New England Conservatory and Yale, composer/pianist Anthony Coleman has been an essential figure in the Downtown Scene since 1979, contributing some of the most radical and thought-provoking music of the last several decades. A tireless scholar, Anthony is just as comfortable exploring in detail the nuances of swing and be-bop as he is 20th and 21st contemporary composition, as well as cinema, philosophy and visual art. Since the 80s Anthony has released over fifteen CDs of his own music as well as contributing to the essential works of John Zorn, Marc Ribot, Glenn Branca and Roy Nathanson.
Anthony and his work have had a huge impact and influence on me and I couldn't be happier to present this conversation that covers, among other things, much of his personal history, listening for sociology in music, Radical Jewish Culture and coming to terms with the highs and lows that come with a life devoted to art.
Brian Labycz is a Chicago native. He began playing the viola as a child, which led him on a path that has taken him from the city's hardcore clubs to koto studies in Japan, back to Chicago where he has been developing his own unique voice in the world of electronic music and modular synthesis. While I was in Chicago this past March, over a couple mugs of Cafe Bustelo, Brian and I sat down at his house to discuss his personal history, his label, Peira and sustainability in musical communities. A good talk.